Feb 24 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index looked set to open higher on Friday, building on gains from the previous session, as crude prices rose on Iran jitters.
Recent favorable economic data and the approach of next week’s three-year refinancing operation by the European Central Bank buoyed sentiment.
* Canadian equity futures pointed to a higher open.
* Canada’s budget update and speech by Bank of Canada’s Governor is on the calendar.
* U.S. stock index futures rose, extending gains that have taken equities near highs not seen since before the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers.
* European shares edged up as results from companies such as Telecom Italia reassured investors, and strategists said stocks might extend the rally after rising to seven-month highs this week.
* The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index, a global commodities benchmark, rose 0.08 percent in early trade.
* Oil held above $123 a barrel and was heading for a fifth straight weekly gain, as concern over cuts in Iranian supply offset worries high oil prices could restrain demand.
* Gold prices held just below $1,780 an ounce in Europe, supported by gains in the euro and expectations that monetary policy will remain loose in key economies, but was struggling to maintain traction after this week’s already hefty price climb.
* Copper rose as the euro edged higher, with the metal on track to post its biggest weekly gain in a month, but caution about the outlook for economic growth and demand from top consumer China capped further gains for the metal.
* Eldorado Gold : The company reported a more than 50 percent increase in its 2011 earnings from operations, largely driven by increased bullion sales and higher realized prices.
* Iamgold Corp. : The company reported an 8 percent increase in quarterly net profit on Thursday, driven largely by a sharp increase in the price of gold.
* Magna International Inc. : The auto parts manufacturer reported a big jump in quarterly earnings on Thursday that easily beat analysts’ expectations as vehicle production soared in North America.
* Mandalay Resources : The company said scheduled shipment of concentrate for February from the Cerro Bayo silver-gold mine in Chile has been delayed due to unrest in that country.
Following is a summary of research actions on Canadian companies reported by Reuters.
* Altagas Ltd. : NBF resumes coverage with outperform, price target C$34.50
* Dundee : Canaccord genuity raises target price to C$39 from C$37.85
* Golden Star Resources Ltd. : NBF raises price target to C$2.10 from C$1.85
* Lundin Mining : Canaccord Genuity raises target price to C$5 from C$4.50
* Northland Power : Canaccord genuity raises to buy from hold
* Onex Corp. : CIBC cuts price target to C$43 from C$45
* Pretium Resources Inc. : CIBC cuts to sector perform from sector outperform
* Prodigy Gold : Canaccord genuity cuts target price to C$1.75 from C$1.90
* Tim Hortons : Canaccord genuity raises target price to C$52 from C$48, rating hold
* Virginia Mines Inc. : NBF resumes coverage with outperform; price target C$12.70